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Washington State University

EMBA Speakers

2024 Speakers Coming Soon!

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2023 Conference Moderator

Cheryl Oliver

Associate Dean, Graduate and Online Programs, Carson College of Business

Cheryl Oliver, associate dean for professional programs in the Carson College of Business, is a member of the dean’s leadership team. She leads the highly recognized and respected online MBA, Executive MBA, and online undergraduate programs in business at Washington State University.

These programs are designed to deliver on the WSU mission at scale, providing value to all stakeholders regardless of their physical location. Additionally, she has invested in providing brand differentiating opportunities for veterans, military members, and their families to pursue their MBA, ensuring support commensurate with their experience and needs.

This portfolio of programs is consistently recognized as top in the country for quality programming, outstanding faculty and student success. She began her career in the K-8 education system, earning her undergraduate degree in elementary education with an emphasis in K-8 teaching.

She holds a master’s in education administration with an emphasis in higher education administration and student affairs as well as a master’s in business administration. Oliver is active in the region supporting programs that emphasize access to education and wellness.

2023 Session Presenters

Kelly Tweeddale

Kelly Tweeddale coaches high-performance leaders and organizations throughout North America with one focal point: connecting people and organizations through creativity. She is recognized for forging paths of notable growth through strategy, action, and innovation. She developed Break the Tape Leadership to connect her three decades of experience and insight to leaders and organizations as they position to win in the “next normal.”

As an ICF certified executive coach and emotional intelligence practitioner, she works with leaders, business owners and Fortune 100 clients to bring purpose and impact at both the individual and organizational level. She is an alumni of Tara Mohr’s “Playing Big Facilitators Training” and recipient of the Puget Sound Business Journal Women of Influence and the Greater Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction awards. She serves as a THRIVE Entrepreneurial Coach for the U.S. Small Business Association and is passionate about making a difference and achieving results in any environment. Oh, and she is a seven-time marathon finisher.

Bob Harrington

Ivar B. Haglund Chair and Director,
SHBM, Carson College of Business

Dr. Robert J. Harrington is Ivar B. Haglund Chair in Hospitality Business Management and Director for the School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business. He received his PhD in Strategic Management and MBA from Washington State University and Bachelor of Business Administration from Boise State University, USA. Prior to joining WSU, he was the 21st Century Endowed Chair in Hospitality at the University of Arkansas, faculty member at the University of Guelph, Canada and Dean of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University. Harrington’s current teaching interests include food and beverage management, hospitality innovation management and food & beverage strategies. Current research interests include food and drink pairing, hospitality innovation management, and wine business strategies. He is author of Food and Wine Pairing: A Sensory Experience and recognized for his hospitality business research productivity as well as studies in food, wine and innovation management.

Jeff Bender

Columbia Point Golf Course
Jeff Bender Academy

With over 20 years of coaching experience in both the Northwest and Nebraska PGA Jeff has trained numerous players during their entire golf journeys. Training and coaching a player from 8 years old to the completion of their college careers and into their amateur/professional career is Jeff’s forte! Jeff brings years of experience in the arena of college placement, Junior Golf Scoreboard, and selection of necessary junior events for players to compete. After college Jeff has helped his players to success on Pepsi, Gateway, Symetra, Hooters, and more! Bender is trained in Trackman, K-Vest, V1 Branded, and Titleist Performance Institute (TPI).

Mike Acker

Mike Acker is a keynote speaker, author, executive, and communication coach with over twenty years of speaking, leadership development, and organizational management experience.

Beyond corporate training, Mike engages in his local community as a Seattle TedX speaker coach and works with international agencies to provide relief amidst poverty.​

Mike also enjoys wake surfing, skiing, Disney trips, church, building Legos with his son Paxton, and going on dates with his wife Taylor. No matter if he is bringing out the best in audience, playing with family or connecting with friends, Mike Acker practices being present.

Mike believes in the power of prayer, exercise, journaling, and real community to counter the stresses of everyday life.